Some things to remember as you develop your parenting strategies
- Behaviours are generally due to ADHD Impairments rather than a decision on the child part to be defiant.
- ADHD is a neurological weakness therefore reacting to your child as if he/she is doing these things on purpose is destructive.
- Educate yourself on typical ADHD and Executive functioning impairments that can cause difficulty with self-regulation.
- Your child needs to know that they can trust you to help them. They need you to be consistent so that they can live their lives with some measure of predictability about what will happen and how you will react.
- Behaviours can often be an expression of frustration or an inability to comply quickly with what is being demanded.
- Children with ADHD can be very verbally hurtful when they are frustrated.
- Teach children ways to express their frustration constructively.
- Model the skill of forgiveness.
- Listen to your child about their perspective on what happened without judgement. They may be able to give you great insight into their thinking and the reason they reacted as they did.
- A good sense of humour can be one of the most effective strategies a parent can use. It also helps to keep us sane.
- Use strategies and tools for organization and time management, such as charts, lists, agendas, post its, calendars, timers, reminders and alarms.
- If your child has problems remembering tasks, even daily occurrences, tape lists to mirrors and doors where they are easily seen.
- Since problem solving can be a weakness, modelling and practicing this skill together can circumvent problems and teach this skill at the same time.
- This can be done by actively reviewing a problem with your child, coming up with possible solutions, analyzing the possibility of success and then choosing the best plan of action.
- Social skills may also need to be actively taught to these children since they do not naturally absorb them.
- Setting strategies in place that anticipate problems rather than reacting to behaviours is an effective tool for both home and school.
- Being proactive is always better than being reactive.
- Not demanding that the child change focus quickly can decrease the child’s frustration.
- Shifting their focus from TV to bedtime may need to be a gradual process especially if they are engaged in something that is very stimulating.
- A five or ten minute reminder of a transition, like “bedtime or dinner time is about to happen,” can decrease frustration.
- Ignore impulsive negative comments when transitions are demanded and wait a brief period to see if the child complies on their own instead of getting into a power struggle.
- However, when a time warning is given and a reasonable amount of time is allowed for the child to comply, parent’s need to follow through.
- Lecturing is not an effective way to communicate with children who have ADHD. They are masters at tuning out this form of communication.
- For behaviours that cannot be ignored (like hitting) quick attention, redirection and if required consequences may need to be applied.
- Attending specialized classes on parenting children with ADHD can be very helpful. General parenting classes usually prove less useful.
These are a few brief points on parenting children with ADHD and are by no means meant to be all-inclusive or detailed. There are many resources out there to help with effective skills for parenting ADHD children.